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Bowe back but Ferris out of Scots clash

With Tommy Bowe returning to action this weekend, Declan Kidney is pleased that Ireland's injury problems are easing, but he confirmed yesterday that Stephen Ferris' participation in the Six Nations remains a major doubt, writes Hugh Farrelly.

Having missed the games against Italy and France, Bowe is scheduled to line out for the Ospreys at Treviso tomorrow, which puts him in contention for an Ireland return on the wing against Scotland next weekend.

However, the situation regarding Ferris' knee injury is less positive.

"Stephen has been slow to recover and he will not be available for the Scottish game," said coach Kidney at Ireland's training camp in Cork yesterday.

"He's seeing a surgeon in two weeks' time and the results of that consultation will determine his availability for the rest of the Six Nations.

"A lot of the guys are starting to come back. John Hayes is starting to run again and we'll see progress there at the end of this week. Tony Buckley is starting for Munster (against Edinburgh tonight).

"There were no injuries arising from last week's game. Jamie Heaslip came through well without any reaction.

"Tommy is starting with the Ospreys in Italy and their physios are quite happy with his training. He's back into it and very comfortable running.

"So, there's no hassle for him playing -- if he was showing discomfort, he'd have to be withdrawn.

"He's obviously a top player, but I'm more than happy with the way Fergus McFadden and Keith Earls have gone on the wings as well. I showed that when I was willing to leave Andrew (Trimble) out of it when he was playing well."

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